You’ve heard the saying ‘you are what you eat’. In this case, it means that if you’re not eating a well balanced diet, the you won’t be well balanced physically. Unfortunately for older people, this can lead to a fall. Falls can often result in very serious injury; multiple appointments, hospital time, long term injury and potentially disability. Serious stuff. So, what is this connection and how can your diet help reduce your falls risk?
Most people understand that diet and exercise helps with overall health and wellbeing. However, the connection between falls risk and and diet; namely the role nutrition plays in reducing falls risk and recovery time is not as widely known. Poor diet / malnutrition can lead to reduced muscular strength and decreased mobility; and in many instances, a fall. Many people with malnutrition aren’t even aware they have it and it can go undetected until they have a fall or become ill. Malnutrition is a physical condition resulting from either:
- a faulty or inadequate diet for your life stage; or
- a physical inability to absorb (or metabolise) nutrients, or sometimes both.
What YOU can do with your diet to help reduce the risk of falls
1. Ensure you have a well balanced diet
- Include adequate energy (calorie) and protein intake is important to promote strength, mobility, balance and cognitive function;
- Include variety in your diet; eg. whole grain foods, fruit, vegetables and dairy;
- Ensure you are getting enough vitamin D to help improve muscle function; the best source of vitamin D is actually the sun!
- Include lots of calcium to help minimise bone loss
2. Stay hydrated
- Start the day with a glass of water
- Drink water with every meal
3. Remain active
- Stable weight promotes a reduction in falls risk
- Regular exercise can help with muscular strength and balance
- Incidental exercise is a great way to ensure you are moving (take the stairs, not the elevator, walk a few laps inside the local shopping centre)
If you are concerned about falls risk connection to diet , it’s recommended you consult a dietitian. Mobile Rehab has dietitians to visit you in your home, just call their friendly team on 1300 363 483 to make an appointment today.
To learn more about Mobile Rehab’s dietitian services, visit the Dietetics page; and for further information, contact:
Ph: 1300 363 483